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Last updated on April 24, 2014 at 16:01 EDT

Bell Canada to make $750 million voluntary pension contribution

December 11, 2012

MONTREAL, Dec. 11, 2012 /PRNewswire/ – BCE Inc. (TSX: BCE) (NYSE: BCE),
Canada’s largest communications company, today announced plans to apply
$750 million of its year-end 2012 cash balance towards a voluntary
contribution to Bell Canada’s defined benefit pension plan to further
improve the funded status of the plan and reduce the amount of Bell’s
future pension obligation.

The voluntary contribution will be funded from cash on hand at the end
of 2012. As this pension pre-payment is fully tax deductible, cash tax
savings of approximately $200 million will be realized early in 2013.
Bell’s net pension plan financing cost will also benefit from the
stronger valuation position of the plan, contributing to higher annual
net earnings of approximately $0.02 per share beginning in 2013.

“Accelerating the funding of Bell’s future pension obligation is an
efficient use of our cash given the backdrop of a persistently low
interest rate environment,” said Siim Vanaselja, Chief Financial
Officer of BCE and Bell Canada. “With this contribution, which
preserves the pension plan’s funded status at a high level, we expect
Bell’s normal pension funding and cash income taxes for 2013 to be
maintained at a similar level to 2012. This action both de-risks the
pension plan and improves Bell’s longer term financial flexibility to
enhance returns to our shareholders through reduced future pension
funding requirements and expense.”

Updated 2012 financial outlook

As a result of the $750 million voluntary pension contribution, BCE
updates its financial guidance for 2012 as follows:


                                   February 9     August 8        Current
    2012 Guidance                   Guidance      Guidance        Outlook

    Bell(i)                                                            

    Revenue Growth                   3% - 5%      Lower end      On track

    EBITDA Growth                    2% - 4%     Higher end      On track

    Capital Intensity              <=16%        ~16%        On track

    BCE                                                                

    Adjusted EPS (ii)           $3.13 - $3.18  $3.15 - $3.20     On track

    Free Cash Flow (iii)                                 

      - Before voluntary        $2.35B - $2.5B    No change      On track
      pension contribution

      - After voluntary pension        n.a.          n.a.    $1.6B - $1.75B
      contribution

    (i)   Bell's 2012 financial guidance for revenue, EBITDA and capital
          intensity is exclusive of Bell Aliant.

    (ii)  EPS before severance, acquisition and other costs and net
          gains/losses on investments.

    (iii) Free cash flow before common share dividends and including
          dividends from Bell Aliant.

BCE will report its fourth-quarter 2012 results and provide its 2013
financial outlook on February 7, 2013.

About BCE
BCE is Canada’s largest communications company, providing a
comprehensive and innovative suite of broadband wireless and wireline
communication services to residential and business customers under the
Bell and Bell Aliant brands. Bell Media is Canada’s premier multimedia
company with leading assets in television, radio and digital media,
including CTV, Canada’s leading television network, and the country’s
most-watched specialty channels.

The Bell Mental Health Initiative is a multi-year charitable program
that promotes mental health across Canada via the Bell Let’s Talk
anti-stigma campaign and support for community care, research and
workplace best practices. To learn more, please visit Bell.ca/LetsTalk. For BCE corporate information, please visit BCE.ca. For Bell product and service information, please visit Bell.ca. For Bell Media, please visit BellMedia.ca.

Caution Concerning Forward-Looking Statements
Certain statements made in this news release, including, but not limited
to, statements relating to our 2012 financial guidance (including
revenues, EBITDA, capital intensity, Adjusted EPS and free cash flow),
expected levels of normal pension funding and cash income taxes for
2013, and other statements that are not historical facts, are
forward-looking. Forward-looking statements may include words such as aim, anticipate, assumption, believe, could, expect, goal, guidance,
intend, may, objective, outlook, plan, project, seek, should, strategy,
strive, target
and will. All such forward-looking statements are made pursuant to the “safe
harbour” provisions of applicable Canadian securities laws and of the
United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.

Forward-looking statements, by their very nature, are subject to
inherent risks and uncertainties and are based on several assumptions,
both general and specific, which give rise to the possibility that
actual results or events could differ materially from our expectations
expressed in or implied by such forward-looking statements. As a
result, we cannot guarantee that any forward-looking statement will
materialize and you are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these
forward-looking statements. The forward-looking statements contained in
this news release describe our expectations at December 11, 2012 and,
accordingly, are subject to change after such date. Except as may be
required by Canadian securities laws, we do not undertake any
obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements contained
in this news release, whether as a result of new information, future
events or otherwise. Except as otherwise indicated by BCE,
forward-looking statements do not reflect the potential impact of any
non-recurring or other special items or of any dispositions,
monetizations, mergers, acquisitions, other business combinations or
other transactions that may be announced or that may occur after
December 11, 2012. The financial impact of these transactions and
non-recurring and other special items can be complex and depends on the
facts particular to each of them. We therefore cannot describe the
expected impact in a meaningful way or in the same way we present known
risks affecting our business. Forward-looking statements are presented
for the purpose of providing information about management’s current
expectations and plans and allowing investors and others to obtain a
better understanding of our anticipated operating environment. Readers
are cautioned that such information may not be appropriate for other
purposes.

We encourage investors to also read BCE’s 2011 Annual MD&A dated March
8, 2012 (included in the BCE 2011 Annual Report), BCE’s 2012 First
Quarter MD&A dated May 2, 2012, BCE’s 2012 Second Quarter MD&A dated
August 7, 2012 and BCE’s 2012 Third Quarter MD&A dated October 31,
2012, for additional information with respect to certain of these and
other assumptions and risks, filed by BCE with the Canadian securities
commissions (available at www.sedar.com) and with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (available at www.sec.gov). These documents are also available on BCE’s website at www.bce.ca.

 

SOURCE BELL CANADA


Source: PR Newswire